VISITS TO MY HOSPITAL BED
A Book Proposal
Sam and Terry Krause
11 John St.
Passaic, NJ 07055
Spirituality is enjoying a heyday, thanks to Oprah and Madonna, as well as faith-based TV series like Jerry Bruckheimer’s “Eleventh Hour,” “Eli Stone,” “Fringe,” “Ghost Whisperer,” and “Pushing Daisies.” Books and feature films like Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings,”Star Wars” and the Chronicles of Narnia series have taken on the spiritual struggle of Good vs. Evil.
Nowadays, though, sound spiritual health has transcended the New Age and is now considered an integral part of a holistic self-help regimen.
The May 2008 Issue of Oprah Winfrey’s “O: The Oprah Magazine” devoted around 25% of a “fat” edition to “Spirituality Now!” something Oprah called “The greatest discovery of life: to recognize that you’re more than your body and your mind.” During that same month, Oprah featured, on her TV show, a Past Life Regression expert, Brian Weiss, MD, whose November 2008 speaking engagement in San Francisco played to standing room only crowds.
At a time when the United States has taken a decidedly Liberal turn in its selection of a President, we see, simultaneously, that these same voters have endorsed traditional family values as evidenced by their overwhelming support of California’s Prop 8. In this enigmatic cultural climate, we bring to the reading public a true story that re-introduces the notion of spirituality and faith to a generation that is becoming more and more disenchanted with the corruption of Government and Big Business.
Plagued by realities like global terror and the threat of nuclear warfare, the young and old, alike, are primed for this inspirational story of a life saved through medical – and mystical – forces.
B. Unique Selling Proposition
With a foreword by a spiritually enlightened, leading transplant cardiologist, the message becomes very compelling.
Dr. Alan Gass, who followed the author from end stage heart failure through cardiac transplant, and who continues to follow him today, writes the book’s foreword. Throughout his two decades of medical practice, Dr. Gass has witnessed how the power of true faith and the spirit/mind/body connection has made a measurable medical difference in his patients.
(See the text of Dr. Gass’ foreword elsewhere on this Website.)
Dr. Gass’ findings, coupled with the author’s amazing narrative of the “visitors” – both spiritual and physical – to his hospital bed, will inspire all readers: male, female, young and old, well and not-so-well.
For today’s generation of spiritual seekers, we offer:
1. A true story of hope and inspiration, rooted in the aftermath of the Nazi Holocaust
2. A miracle of modern medical science colored by inexplicable and utterly unscientific forces
3. A narrative seasoned with profoundly uplifting tales taken from the mystical archives of 18th century Kabbalistic writings
4. A study in relationships between parent and child, husband and wife, and even doctor and patient, which demonstrates poignantly
that love can unleash a powerful force of unlimited creative potential
C. Book Overview
Sam Krause had several brushes with death before a routine physical for a summer job at age 16 revealed a congenital heart defect. His parents, who had survived the Nazi Holocaust, had buried two children before Sam was born and carried with them such a morbid fear of death that his mere purchase of a baseball glove or a pair of roller skates set their minds reeling. Residing on three continents before his tenth birthday, Sam ended up in the South Bronx, and before his eighteenth birthday, he had tragically lost his father to cancer and heart disease, shaking up his plans for college and forcing his immigrant mother into the workplace.
Even so, Sam was always quick with a joke and possessed such a zest for life that everywhere he went – the supermarket, the local park, even the hospital waiting room – provided opportunities for him to create relationships with anyone fortunate enough to cross his path.
In 2002, at age 52, Sam was rushed to New Jersey’s Passaic General Hospital Emergency Room with ventricular tachycardia cranking out a heart rate of 160 beats per minute. Even under these grueling conditions, the Emergency Room cardiology team stood incredulous at Sam’s attempts to joke with them as he teetered on the brink of unconsciousness. The next day, the attending physician would tell Sam that, by all scientific parameters, he “should have died.”
Sam credits his miraculous recovery to a blessing from a holy man, the Grand Rabbi of Nadvorna, on the day he was born. The life force of this blessing was reiterated by the revered Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneersohn in 1991 and began to take shape in January 2003, when Sam met Dr. Alan Gass, then Director of Cardiac Transplant at Mt. Sinai Hospital in New York. A host of other “visitors,” both spiritual and physical, serve to round out the story of Sam’s ultimate gift of life: a brand new (transplanted) heart.
Manuscript Status – The manuscript currently exists in chapter synopsis form only, with Chapter One having been completed. It is told as an autobiographical narrative, which weaves ancient tales from Jewish mystical sources along with the scientific medical account of his successful heart transplantation.
The manuscript will run approximately 15 chapters and 200 pages in length. Its anticipated completion date will be one year from publisher’s offer letter and contract.
Chapter One appears elsewhere on this Website.
II. THE MARKET
A. Demographic Description
This story will appeal to all ages and cultural ethnicities. Riding on the popularity of Amy Silverstein’s heart transplant autobiography, Sick Girl (Grove Press, October 2008), the message is clear that stories of personal tragedy mixed with sublime hope have carved out a market share. Oprah Winfrey’s recent issue of “O: The Oprah Magazine” brings home the notion that spirituality is more than a trendy cover story; it sits at the forefront of a new order of human sensibility.
III. THE AUTHOR
A. Background, Previous Writing and Personal Marketing
Sam Krause, eldest child of Holocaust survivors, developed a determination and comic edge early in life. Rebel and class clown against the unlikeliest of backdrops – the Yeshiva – Sam opted out for a secular education at age 11. This momentous decision landed him at the formidable DeWitt Clinton High School in the Bronx, which his parents chose, he asserts, “Simply because it wasn’t co-ed.” A child of the Sixties, Sam performed at numerous comedy club open mike nights on both coasts. Like most of his contemporaries, Sam became a seeker and student of human potential, and in the late 1980’s he found the perfect synthesis of his East-West philosophies in the form of Kabbalah, Jewish mysticism. It was the 21-year pursuit of this profound philosophy, coupled with the details surrounding his heart transplant, which provided the inspiration for this book. Sam lives in Passaic, NJ with his wife and the younger four of his six children.
Sam has taught Kabbalah as an adult education introductory course and has three other manuscripts in the works: Hey, Waiter! There’s God in My Soup! (a treatment of the mystical aspect of jokes), Sammy, Be a Man! (a loosely autobiographical coming-of-age comedy) and Mr. President (a screenplay offering Jackie Mason as next Commander-in-Chief).
Dr. Alan Gass, who continues to follow Sam post transplant, has written the book’s foreword and will make himself available as necessary to promote the marketing of this book. (Dr. Gass’ bio appears elsewhere on this Website.)
IV. ONE SENTENCE DESCRIBING THE WORK (USED BY LITERARY AGENTS TO SHOP THE BOOK TO PUBLISHERS AND FOR PUBLISHERS TO SHOP THE BOOK OUT TO RETAILERS):
Some visits are unexpected; some are unexplained.
V. ONE SENTENCE DEVELOPED INTO A PARAGRAPH:
When Sam Krause was born with a life-threatening heart defect, his Holocaust-survivor parents enlisted the help of a holy man to visit the infant’s hospital bassinet and bestow upon him a blessing. Forty-one years later, a mysterious second blessing was conferred upon Sam from a second holy man. Thirteen years after the pronouncement of the second blessing, Sam, who now lay hospitalized, awaiting a heart transplant, was visited by three men who – unknowingly – recalled to Sam the spiritual force of that second blessing. This visit to his hospital bed set in motion the miraculous events that followed: an auspicious day, a well-matched donor heart and a textbook surgery that returned life to Sam…and Sam to life.
VI. A FEW PARAGRAPHS THAT COULD APPEAR ON THE
Sam Krause was born to Holocaust survivors who had emerged with more than psychic scars from the War. His mother was so physically ruined that her hopes to conceive and bear children were dashed by the tragic deaths, in infancy, of her first two babies. Sadly, the birth of her third child – Sam – was marred by the announcement that his heart was hopelessly defective.
A holy man was summoned, and wrapped within his tender blessing for the newborn lay the promise of a life unblemished by the cruel fate that had befallen Sam’s brothers.
Sam’s defective heart continued to pump, assisted by modern medicine and the holy man’s blessing, but on his forty-first birthday, a second holy man divined that the blessing needed to be granted anew.
On a terrifying day in October 2002, Sam was rushed to the emergency room, his chest quivering with a heart rate of 160 beats per minute. After the medical team stabilized him, a pacemaker was implanted, but a subsequent visit to Sam’s cardiologist revealed that no device was capable of sustaining Sam’s enfeebled heart for much longer. A transplant evaluation was scheduled, and Sam, his wife and six children prepared for the worst.
January 2003 heralded a new year in the fullest sense. Sam’s first appointment with Dr. Alan Gass, head of transplant cardiology at New York’s Mt. Sinai Hospital, became a defining moment for both men. Dr. Gass, one in an extraordinary succession of visitors to Sam’s hospital bed, was one link in the chain of miraculous events that culminated in a successful heart transplant that returned life to Sam…and Sam to life.